Reading Intervention For Elementary Students
Hey friends. Most of you know that I’ve taught in a variety of states. There is several benefits (and drawbacks as well) to this set up. The biggest advantage to moving every few years is seeing how each and every district runs their reading intervention programs in the elementary classroom. Every school has a different way to approach reading intervention, but I found this model to be the best in student success.
While in Virginia, I really feel like that’s where my teaching was fine tuned. At this school, we had a school wide reading intervention program. Thankfully, the school had an amazing administration that was fully focused on growing their teachers to understand literacy development. The administration was very big on making sure all teachers had a variety of reading intervention activities.
In this program, we sent out students who were high achieving for reading enrichment activities. We split the struggling students into groups of three. The best part of this system was that every staff member on campus was utilized during this time. After all, scheduling a reading intervention block is an essential component to a successful elementary school. This is how you can reach your lowest quartile of students the most effectively.
A school wide intervention system may not be in reach for you at this time. However, I’m going to share some suggestions to make your intervention system work for you.
Scheduling Your Intervention Block
One way to think of your reading intervention time is an extra instructional block in the skill students are the weakest in. I really make an effort from day one to schedule my intervention block in so that time is always used for something. I try to make sure that my intervention block is always scheduled at a separate time than reading or math. This is done on purpose.
Intervention shouldn’t just be and extension of your reading lesson where you keep the lower group “longer”. Reading intervention should be viewed as a second or third instructional attempt. During intervention, teachers present the materials different each time. I really try to make sure it’s a complete different set up than our guided reading or guided math groups.
Student grouping is essential to a successful intervention block. I strive to make sure I have no more than three students in an intervention group. Here’s why: This is an intensive instructional strategy to ensure that each student really receives the attention they need. I know this is a very difficult task with having 23 other students that need your attention. I try to think about it this way, if I don’t help the most struggling students, who will? They came to me as struggling students and unless I do something drastic, they will remain struggling students.
Teachers, we HAVE to remember this!
We need to have in regards to students who receive intensive intervention. Some ideas to help is to ask if your office clerk or school nurse could come in your classroom for 25 minutes a day. They maybe able to work with a medium/low group while you work with the lowest group. Here’s the thing, I know it’s awkward to ask other people for help. I get it. Everyone has a job and a purpose on that campus.
School Community in Reading Intervention
At the end of the day, though, it is the job of the school community to ensure that EVERY child is successful. Maybe the nurse can only come down two days a week, TAKE IT. Give them the materials to use and make it easy for them. Make sure to make a huge deal out of how much help it is. I’ve asked and been told no. But more times than I’ve been told NO, I’ve been told YES.
What are the other students doing during intervention?
This is not an easy question to answer. Let me tell you why. It depends on your students. If you are a third or fourth grade teacher with a well behaved group of students, I encourage you to think about doing a book study. Something the students can read and answer questions on their own and is a separate book than their guided reading set. If you have a group of rowdy first graders, than you might need to consider allowing them this opportunity for seat work.
I’m not a fan of a designated “seat work time”, however, one year, I had a group that could not handle another center rotation or any cooperative learning more than during guided reading. With this group, I created folders for the students to complete at their own pace. I collected them weekly and checked for completion (unless major errors where obvious). My saving grace for this was The Moffatt Girls! This product SAVED me. I’ve also used these literacy center mats for my students who are not in my intervention group.
How do I know a student needs further testing?
This is a question I get asked on my Facebook page often. Here’s my recommendation: whenever you begin an intensive intervention process, you should go ahead and document what you are doing. This way, if the student continues to not make progress with intensive intervention in place, you may need to look into the testing process. However, you will have weeks and weeks of documented intervention data to show that you’ve made every attempt to help the student. Documentation does not have to be difficult. I struggled for many years with how to document my reading intervention program and then I created progress monitoring components to help me stay on track with the documentation process.